Tombstone, Arizona: A Biker’s Haven
Upon entering the city limits of Tombstone, AZ, one is immediately transported back in time, to a place where at one time lawlessness was the only law there was. When someone mentions Tombstone, it is common to picture the “Old West” as depicted in numerous movies and television shows. It conjures up images of gunfights, stagecoaches, saloons, and many other memories of a bygone era. The Tombstone of today is quite different. Restored buildings and commercial stagecoaches greet visitors. The stagecoaches transport tourists from one side of town to the other. It has also become somewhat of a mecca for motorcycle enthusiasts. Whether out for a quick day trip or for those who have traveled far, Tombstone draws bikers to its glorious look back into time.
Tombstone, Arizona: A Town Rich with History
Founded in 1877 by Ed Schieffelin, a prospector, the story of how Tombstone got its name is interesting. Ed wanted to strike it rich. He was part of a scouting expedition looking for Apaches that was camping at Camp Huacvhuca. In his free time, he would set out into the wilderness to hunt for “rocks”. His fellow soldiers mocked him by telling him that the only stone he would find out there would be his tombstone. Eventually, he was successful in finding a silver rock, at which point he quickly laid claim to the mine. He appropriately named it Tombstone.
In 1879, an influx of folks wanting to strike it rich made their way to the area. A town developed near the mine and was named Tombstone. By the mid 1880’s Tombstone’s population soared to 7,500 (not an accurate number, as it only counted white males, over 21 and registered to vote. It quickly became the fastest growing city from St. Louis to San Francisco. Tombstone had over 100 saloons, lots of restaurants and boarding houses, its own red light district, churches, newspapers, and a large Chinese population. It also boasted the first public swimming pool in Arizona (this pool is still up and running), Along with rapid growth, money from mines, and miners, the town quickly became besieged with crime and a seedy underbelly known as “The Cowboys”. Many as an insult considered the term “cowboy” in early days of the west. Men who ranched and herded cattle legitimately were called ranchers or cattle herders. The “Cowboys” were a lawless bunch. They smuggled stolen cattle, alcohol, and tobacco into Mexico, about 30 miles to the south of Tombstone.
One of the many events Tombstone occurred in 1881; the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral”, between Wyatt Earp and his brothers versus three “Cowboys” that had attempted to rob a stagecoach carrying a large quantity of silver bullion. The gunfight was also the result of a “family” type feud between the Earp’s and the Cowboys. The town was nearly destroyed twice, when fires raged through the city, destroying many buildings and businesses. Both times, however, strong and independent people of this Wild West haven rebuilt.
Tombstone, Arizona: A Great Place to Ride
Tombstone today is a great tourist attraction that sees 1000’s of visitors each year and this number shows no signs of slowing down. Tombstone caters to bikers and motorcycle clubs. The streets are narrow and two-lane, which makes it easier to ride a bike than be in a car. The scenic ride to Tombstone from Tucson travels from desert, to high country grasslands, and back to desert. Upon arrival, the wood sidewalks beckon you to park and take a trip back in time. Shops, restaurants, theatre groups, and stagecoach rides relive the glory days of the silver rush of Tombstone.
If you like to ride with other bikers, then the Sierra Vista Annual Chrome Pony Rally may be your ticket to a slice of biker heaven. Sierra Vista is about 70 miles south of Tucson, in the Tombstone area. This ride covers miles of open road, varying elevations, and scenic byways that will astound you. This rally has it all; tattoo contest, poker run, bike show, a riding scavenger hunt, bands, and so much more. It is also for a good cause, supporting the Brian Terry Foundation. Brian lost his life in the line of duty, while patrolling our boarders The foundation helps families of law enforcement that have also lost their lives in the line of duty. The rally is a great way to connect with other motorcyclists and have a blast at the same time.
Tombstone is more than just its history of outlaws and renegades. Today’s Tombstone caters to that “rebel” in all of that want to hit the road and enjoy the freedom of the open road. A good time awaits you when you reach your destination, Tombstone, AZ.
Written By Sydney Silence